When Saturday July 11
Impact on overall: 3/5
Where are we?
Brittany is a hotbed of cycling, and while stage seven brought us here from Normandy, Brittany is where the Tour will stay for the next two stages before the race’s first, long-awaited rest day.
It’s an area of short, sharp climbs — similar to south-west England, just a short hop across the Channel on the ferry. The finish climb up to the town of Mûr-de-Bretagne, slap-bang in the middle of Brittany, is a perfect example.
What’s on the route?
Rennes — the capital of Brittany — was first used in 1905, for the third edition of the Tour — but didn’t feature as the host of a stage again until 1933, since when it’s been used another 13 times.
The dead-straight climb up to the finish at Mûr-de-Bretagne will be familiar as the place where Cadel Evans pipped Alberto Contador to win the fourth stage in 2011, before going on to win the race overall.
The climb up to Mûr-de-Bretagne is where the day’s stage will come alive. But the main contenders will have to keep their wits about them if they don’t want to throw away precious seconds to their rivals. For the first time since 2007, time bonuses make a return to the Tour this year, although only up until this eighth stage.
With 10 seconds for the winner of the stage, six for second and four for third places, the main contenders’ teams might be content to let a breakaway have its day and sweep up the podium places, and therefore those bonuses.